Honey bees build honeycombs of wax that exhibit a hexagonal tiling. Why hexagons? As this Ted Ed video explains, the hexagonal structure utilizes space most efficiently and uses the minimal amount of wax to create a given number of columns per volume.
In materials science, the crystal structure of a well-studied nanoporous material, MOF-74 , resembles a honeycomb; the structure consists of 1-dimensional channels with a hexagonal cross-section.
The crystal structure of MOF-74 constructs a surface that, like the honeycomb, most efficiently utilizes a volume to create a given number of channels, while minimizing the amount of material required.
Instead of storing honey, MOF-74 can be used to store or separate gas molecules. For example, MOF-74 is a promising candidate to selectively capture the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the exhaust of coal-fired power plants . The carbon dioxide can then be compressed and pumped underground to be stored in geological formations, where it cannot instigate climate change.
 Rosi, N. L., Kim, J., Eddaoudi, M., Chen, B., O’Keeffe, M., & Yaghi, O. M. (2005). Rod packings and metal-organic frameworks constructed from rod-shaped secondary building units. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 127(5), 1504-1518.
 Britt, D., Furukawa, H., Wang, B., Glover, T. G., & Yaghi, O. M. (2009). Highly efficient separation of carbon dioxide by a metal-organic framework replete with open metal sites. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(49), 20637-20640.comments powered by Disqus